Micah Richards Praises Celtic’s Global Recruitment Strategy

Ex-Manchester City defender – and now football pundit – Micah Richards, has been discussing Celtic’s recruitment habit of shopping in the J-League for untapped talent, and Richards believes there may be trouble ahead for Celtic as a result of the success the likes of Reo Hatate, Daizen Maeda, Kyogo Furuhashi, Tomoki Iwata and Yuki Kobayashi have brought to Celtic.

Speaking on BBC, as reported by Glasgow Times, Richards believes Celtic may well find they are soon priced out of the Japanese market, and also believes bigger clubs will have seen Postecoglou’s transfer market success, delve in themselves, and up the asking price of talent, to the point Celtic may no longer become a preferred destination for the Japanese players and their representatives.

“They have got some good players but you have to (shop in other markets), not everyone is going to the same market for players. Bigger clubs might want to delve into these markets but they need a player who is ready-made.

“Japanese players want to learn and Celtic is a massive club to show what you can do. Players like Virgil van Dijk playing up there and going to the Premier League, so massive credit to them, long may it continue. But the better they perform, the more expensive they will become, so a lot more people will delve into that market now. It’s a good thing for them and the players they are recruiting.

“But it’s also a bad thing as now maybe some of the bigger clubs who don’t usually go in that market won’t go to the likes of Celtic.”

Ange Postecoglou has added to his back-room team with scouting staff and analysts with the same attention to detail as he has his first team recruits. So, whilst he has taken advantage of a market he has personal knowledge of in Japan, and targeted players from that league of late, there is little chance Postecoglou won’t look to the recommendations made by the likes of Mark Lawwell and Jay Lefevre. And there is even less chance they will be looking solely to the far-east for Celtic’s transfer targets.

For the time being Ange Postecoglou was quite right to tap into a market he knew well and there is no reason to believe his contacts in that part of the world won’t continue to unearth gems that Celtic can take advantage of. However Richards does have a point regarding that being a long-term area of recruitment Celtic can mine indefinitely.

Yet, Celtic have been ‘agile’ in that regard as the manager has previously alluded to. The deals to bring the likes of Carl Starfelt and Sead Hakšabanović  – as well as the loan deal for the now departed Oliver Abildgaard – all from Rubin Kazan, shows Celtic are making smart moves in other markets and taking advantage of contractual issues that have arisen for players from the Russian league.

Meanwhile Celtic have picked up Hyeon-Gyu Oh in £2.5m deal with Suwon Bluewings and the manager has also previously indicated his admiration for the talents of players currently plying their trade in the middle-east.

Celtic have had great success from shopping in the J-League, however Ange Postecoglou has also proven he’s astute in targeting suitable players for his style of play from many other transfer markets. As such there is no reason to believe that should Celtic for some reason be priced out the Japanese market, as Micah Richards suggests, that other untapped markets won’t emerge over the course of future transfer windows.

On the field Celtic never stop, therefore there is no reason to suggest Ange Postecoglou doesn’t demand for the same approach from those he has scouring the globe for future transfer gems.

Niall J

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As a Bellshill Bhoy I was taken to my first Celtic game in the summer of 1987. It was Billy McNeill’s return to Celtic Park as manager and Celtic lost 5-1 to Arsenal . I thought I was a jinx, I think my Grandfather might have thought the same. It was the finest gift anyone ever gave me when he walked me through Parkhead's gates.

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